The Taliban government in Afghanistan has confirmed that matters related to the Pak-Afghan border fence would be resolved through “understanding, talks and good neighborliness,” a sentiment expressed earlier by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The Pakistani foreign minister assured that the bilateral issue was being handled diplomatically. Previously, he had alluded to “some complications” along the 2,600km fencing built by Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan, but blamed “certain miscreants” for blowing the incidents out of proportion.
Taliban foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi issued a statement on Twitter: “Recently, a few incidents have taken place along the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have given rise to the need for the authorities of the two sides to address the problem […] IEA believing in addressing problems through understanding, talks and good neighborliness, will address this issue through diplomatic channels.”
The push towards diplomacy, echoed by foreign ministries from both sides of the border, strikes a more cooperative tone than an earlier statement from Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarzmi, who was interviewed saying that Pakistan had ‘no right’ to erect a fence along the Durand Line, a video of which went viral on Twitter this week.
Videos of purported Taliban fighters tearing down fencing along the Pak-Afghan border have also been circulating on social media. The clips allegedly show members of the Taliban patrolling the border and removing spools of barbed wire.
The Durand Line has been a contentious issue between both countries since its drafting in 1893 as part of an agreement signed by Afghan King Abdul Rahman Khan and British India’s Foreign Secretary Sir Mortimer Durand. Successive governments in Kabul have questioned the legitimacy of the colonial-era border, while Islamabad has maintained the borders validity.